Thursday, May 25, 2006
AMHERST WRITERS WORKSHOP - last spring session
Writing suggestion: From the past, write down a color, place, time, person, that has something to do with your character’s past. Ditto for the present.
PAST: red - art museum - Saturday - father
PRESENT: yellow - riverbank - morning - dog
Woman Who Runs
With Away From Wolves
I woke up with an urge to run. Wasn’t that the purpose of a weekend getaway? Leave the city and responsibility behind, follow the inner voice, and “Run away, run away.” The sun was out, which was quite a change from the days before which had been rainy, and the temperature in the cabin was tolerable.
I stuck out my foot from beneath the comforter and tested the air. This would be easy. Shorts and a T-shirt, socks—the ones I wore yesterday would have to do, and trail shoes. Quiety, I gathered the clothes and shoes trying not to wake my husband, whose inner voice had not yet spoken.
I drank quickly from a bottle of water waiting for me on the table. All laced up and ready to go, I headed out the door into the cool, fresh, early morning air.
The trees were quiet, no breeze, no clouds, no sign of rain. I stretched my arms over my head, leaned forward over one knee and then the other, took a deep breath and off I went more peace-filled than I’d been in weeks.
Only the sound of birds twittering and chatting amongst themselves told me I was not dreaming, that a new day had begun. The road was deserted and I broke into a gentle jog. I ran past wild flowers, May Apples, and fallen trees, all by-products of a month of spring rain. I drew energy from the rush of air chilling the sweat on my face. I slowed down only long enough to make a quick decision to turn down a new gravel road that had just been laid since I’d last been to the cabin.
Construction for a vacation home was evident about half a mile down the new road, and I peered through the trees to get a good look. Then, I stopped abruptly and stared straight in front of me. A large gray wolf stood about fifty feet ahead of me and looked back over his shoulder in my direction. Maybe he hadn’t seen me. Or heard me? It’s a wolf, I told myself, he listens and watches the woods for a living. Wolf? Are there wolves in Missouri? Cayote, maybe. My brain raced to figure it out. Will he chase me? Is he hungry? My heart had stopped beating, and I told myself to breath.
I took a step back , remembering somewhere in the back of my head not to turn my back on him. Or is that bears? Doesn’t matter. I kept looking at him, two steps, three, for about ten paces backward. And he never changed his pose. Overwhelmed by fear, I tried to stay calm. The inner voice shouted, “Run away, run away.”
I turned and ran as fast as I could looking up and down the rows of trees for one I could climb. Climb a tree? What would Clarissa Pinkola Estes do? I would keep running.
Glancing back over my shoulder, I couldn’t see around the bend to where the wolf had been standing, but clearly he wasn’t chasing me. My right fore-foot rolled over the loose gravel, and I felt the tendon in my ankle give way. I imagined the pain of sharp wolf teeth tearing into the muscle in my calf, and I ignored the ankle sprain and kept running. All the way back to the cabin, knowing that I’m a woman who runs
with away from wolves.
Let your inner voice speak--bidden or unbidden your inner voice is there, so let it out and listen to your own voice. Amherst Workshops resume in the fall.